There are a variety of hybrid vehicles to suit a variety of budgets and styles. Whether you’re looking to save money on gas, reduce environmental impact or both, these best gas mileage cars can help.
How we chose the best gas mileage cars
To make our list of cars with the best gas mileage, vehicles must use gasoline (no all-electric vehicles, sorry Tesla) and rank highly among the U.S. Department of Energy’s top 10 most fuel efficient cars. Vehicle models could not be repeated due to fuel efficiency differences between trims. You will, however, see brands repeated. Toyota and Honda, for example, dominate this list — Toyota expects hybrids to make up a quarter of its sales while Honda plans to stop selling gas and diesel-only cars in Europe next year, according to news reports. Confused about the differences between electric vehicles (EVs), hybrids and plug-in hybrids? Check out our explainer, below.
2021 Toyota Prius Prime
$28,220 starting MSRP
133 MPGe/54 MPG
The 2021 Toyota Prius Prime has the highest fuel efficiency of any non-electric vehicle on the market, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. You will pay a premium for this plug-in hybrid or PHEV — the traditional Prius hybrid has a lower starting price — but the Prime is reasonable among rival PHEVs. The Prime can get a full charge off a standard 120-volt (V) outlet in 5.5 hours or 2 hours and 15 minutes using a 240V outlet. Toyota offers a hybrid battery warranty good for 10 years or 150,000 miles, something to keep in mind if you’re considering a different hybrid in the Toyota family including Camry, Highlander, Corolla, RAV4, Venza, Avalon or Sienna. For the first time, the RAV4 gets the Prime treatment — the popular compact SUV now has a plug-in version. Read more about it, below.
2021 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid
$33,400 starting MSRP
110 MPGe/42 MPG
Honda offers the Clarity as a plug-in hybrid or a fuel cell vehicle, though the latter is only available for lease in California where hydrogen fuel stations are easily available. A four-door sedan with a 1.5-liter (L), four-cylinder engine available in two trims, the Clarity PHEV gets 110 MPGe and a 42-mile electric-only driving range. It takes about 12 hours to fully charge the battery using a 120V outlet, but only 2.5 hours from a 240V outlet. An eight-speaker sound system is standard, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Honda’s battery warranty is 8 years or 100,000 miles.
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime
$38,100 starting MSRP
94 MPGe/38 MPG
A Kelley Blue Book “best buy,” the 2021 RAV4 Prime joins the Prius Prime as a Toyota plug-in hybrid, as we mentioned earlier. The crossover offers 94 MPGe with 42 miles of electric-only range plus standard all-wheel drive (AWD), a direct injection 2.5L, four-cylinder engine and eight drive modes, including sport, eco and trail. An all-gasoline powered RAV4 is significantly less with a starting MSRP of $26,050 (more for AWD) while a traditional hybrid RAV4 starts at $28,500, but you won’t see the same mileage savings. The RAV4 Prime fully charges in 12 hours from a standard household 120V outlet or in 4.5 hours from a 240V outlet.
2020 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
$23,200 starting MSRP
58/57/59 MPG combined/city/highway
The first vehicle on this list that’s not a plug-in hybrid (though the Ioniq has one of those and an electric too), the 2020 Hyundai Ioniq still offers good mileage for a low price. This traditional hybrid comes in four trims, but the lowest one, Blue, offers the greatest fuel efficiency. The Ioniq Blue gets 58 MPG combined and delivers standard active safety features like emergency braking and blind spot warning plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Its hybrid battery and all of its hybrid system components are covered by a 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty. The 2021 Hyundai Ioniq (not available as of press time) does not have many changes in store, but there’s buzz about the upcoming all-electric Ioniq 5, not to be confused with the existing electric Ioniq. The Ioniq 5 will have an entirely new EV platform.
2021 Honda Insight
$22,930 starting MSRP
52/55/49 MPG combined/city/highway
The lowest-priced vehicle on this list, the 2021 Honda Insight offers 551 miles of total range thanks in part to its efficient in-line four-cylinder engine with port injection. While it doesn’t have the highest MPG ever, its 52 MPG combined rating is still impressive and the sedan’s sizing is rather generous. The Insight would be Goldilocks’ choice as it’s smack between the larger Honda Accord and the smaller, best-selling Honda Civic. It shares many features with the Civic, gets better MPG, and comes in at only a slightly higher price. The Honda Sensing® suite of active safety features, including emergency braking, is standard. The Insight comes in three trims and carries an 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty on its hybrid battery.
Hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric — how do they differ?
It’s important to understand the differences between a traditional hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and an electric vehicle (EV). A traditional hybrid has two sources of power: an internal combustion engine and an electric motor that uses energy stored in a battery charged through regenerative braking. A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) retains a traditional gasoline-powered engine but its battery can be charged through a power outlet or charging station, giving it a greater range than “regular” hybrids. An EV also plugs in, but lacks a gasoline-powered engine. Plug-in hybrids and EVs may qualify for a federal tax credit — search by manufacturer here to see if a car you’re interested in is eligible.
Ways to finance the most fuel efficient cars
Fuel efficiency isn’t the only way for drivers to save money — make sure you’re getting the best deal possible on your car loan, too. The best way to do that is to get a preapproved auto loan from your bank, credit union or online lender before going to the dealer. Short on time? You could fill out a single online form at LendingTree and receive up to five potential auto loan offers from lenders at once, depending on your creditworthiness.
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